Melbourne is a hip, dynamic metropolis, with an exciting city center, inner-city neighborhoods that is full of unique character, and lush green parks and mountain ranges where you can enjoy Australian nature at its finest. The city is known for its many laneways, its cultural diversity, excellent dining options for all budgets, and amazing street art. It’s also known for being the coffee capital of the world, and for being regularly voted as the world’s most livable city!
Let’s explore the best things to do in Melbourne:
See a Rising show
What is it?
Long-standing festivals Melbourne Festival and White Night are combining in 2021 for a new mega winter festival called Rising.
Rising is being billed as an annual feast of theatre, dance, visual art, music and events from Australia and all over the world. Melbourne Festival and White Night have both had some serious talent headline their festivals, but you’ll also find a bunch of more accessible smaller acts to fill up your festival quota.
All of it! We can’t wait to see what this new festival will look like.
After a year of speculation, we now know the name and dates of Victoria’s mega new arts festival. Rising is Melbourne’s brand-new winter arts festival, set to run from May 26 to June 6, 2021.
The festival amalgamates two of Melbourne’s biggest annual events – White Night and Melbourne International Arts Festival – and will be a celebration of art, music, ceremony and the night. The new festival was due to debut in August 2020, however, the recent event cancellations forced organizers to delay for a year.
Rising is led by co-artistic director Hannah Fox (Dark Mofo) and Gideon Obarzanek (Chunky Move, Melbourne Festival and AsiaTOPA), who have outlined their vision for the festival to help “re-stitch Australia’s cultural landscape” – no small task given the current untenable state of the nation’s artistic industries.
Part of that plan involves using $2 million originally designated for the 2020 festival to immediately commission Victorian artists to create new works to be shown in the inaugural Rising 2021. The funding will solely help Victorian artists to create shows, events and exhibitions for the 2021 festival that “are ambitious, unusual and that could only happen in a festival context,” says Obarzanek. “Whether these respond to the times or reach beyond them, we invite ideas that are radical and critical; ideas that are absurd and bombastic; ideas that are contemplative and philosophical; and ideas that are celebratory and unifying.”
While White Night was (for most of its Melbourne history) a one-night-only explosion of art, music, performance and veritable glowing things, Melbourne International Arts Festival was a more refined, multi-week affair showcasing the arts in a largely traditional sense.
Just how Rising differentiates itself from the two remains to be seen, though the festival is currently calling on Victorian artists to submit applications for works that are Melbourne specific, radical, ambitious, generous, celebratory, for the community, can only be realized in a festival context, or that could be presented at multiple festivals or cities.
Find out more at https://www.timeout.com/
If you’re on vacation and want to explore Australia’s rich flora and fauna, then head towards Healesville, which is home to Koalas, Kangaroos, Harriot, Earl, Emu, pelicans, Heron, Tasmanian Devils, Wombat, and a red-tailed cockatoo.
This sanctuary also has a hospital that looks after the ill and injured animals. The center of attraction here is the free entertainment shows organized by the wildlife reserve. The Healesville Sanctuary-56 is the most loved tourist place in Melbourne for wildlife admirers.
- It has more than 200 varieties of animals in its natural habitat.
- The sanctuary is located close to the famous vineyards of the Yarra Valley.
- It organizes free air shows like the platypus show
- The reserve has a hospital to look after the animals.
Shrine of Remembrance
This is one of the important tourist attractions in Melbourne and is a place of historical importance as well. Essentially a war memorial, this shrine was constructed as an ode to the hundreds of Australian men and women soldiers who lost their lives during World War I.
The memorial was open to the general public on 11th November 1934 and is currently one of the biggest in Australia. Every year, on the 25th of April, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is observed here.
Today, tourists who come to this memorial can get a bird’s eye view of historic accidents through the memorial’s exhibition and museums. Lots of educational activities happen regularly to teach people about the richness of their bygone legacy.
Old Melbourne Gaol
Once a prison for criminals is now the most iconic building of Melbourne. The lockup has now been converted into a museum. This building is constructed in Bluestone. The place is also considered to be haunted as it has death masks and pistols of the US military prisoners. The Gaol also allows you to spend your nights here and learn more about life in the cells, making it a unique place to visit in Melbourne.
- This is not only the oldest prison but the most grandeur monument of the city.
- The Gaol has a museum.
- The only cell of the city where tourists can spend their night.
- Experience the life in a cell and the process of arresting a culprit through a stage act.
- If you love experiencing paranormal activities or are a goosebump fan, then this pace is for you.
Find out more at https://www.thrillophilia.com/
Great Ocean Road
One of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the whole of the world; The Great Ocean Road is a 243 Kilometres long self-drive long stretch in Victoria. This iconic stretch starts from the surfing capital of the world, Torquay, and ends at the historic fishing village of Port Fairy and it is one of the best places to visit in Melbourne.
This road trip takes you through some of the most beautiful rainforests and surfing beaches. You may even get a chance to spot Koalas, Kangaroos, and even whales on the go! You can also try your hands out on zip linings, cliff climbing and enjoy your meals atop cliff beaches and make the best out of your drive across the Great Ocean Road.
People usually bag in 3 days to cover all the beautiful spots on the way. The journey to cover up the Great Ocean Road starts off from Melbourne and ends off at the same place. From dense rainforests to deep clean rivers, from volcanoes to the endless coastline, the Great Ocean Road has a lot to offer to all its visitors.
Thrill seekers to nature lovers, this route has something to offer to each and every one. From tasting some of the best quality seafood to relishing varieties of freshly brewed beers from local breweries, a trip around the Great Ocean Road will land you up with a whole lot of special memories to remember by all throughout your life.
How to Reach Great Ocean Road
If you are traveling from Melbourne Airport to the Great Ocean Road, you can choose either of the below mentioned modes of transportation:
– By Public Transport: If you wish to travel by Public Transport, you shall have to take a train from Southern Cross Station, Melbourne to Geelong. From Geelong, you can choose from multiple buses heading off to different destinations on the Great Ocean Road. Torquay is just 40 Kms. From Geelong.
– By Private Vehicle: You can travel to Torquay, which marks the start of the Great Ocean Road and is just 100 kms. from Melbourne.
Best Time to Visit Great Ocean Road
The best time to visit the Great Ocean Road is from December to February (Summers) or from September to November (Springs). The summers come along with minimal rainfall in the region and ample sunshine, allowing you to enjoy the water activities to the fullest.
However, it comes along with a heavy tourist crowd and overpriced accommodations. Springs are best for exploring natural abodes and waterfalls along the coastline. Sunsets and the green covers all around are also at their best during this season.
What Not to Miss at Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is lined up with a whole lot of fun and adventure activities with a serene view all around. Here are a few must-do things while on your trip around the coast.
Enjoy the Scenery:
Victoria’s south-eastern coastline is full of diverse sceneries. Witness the famous waves of Bells Beach. Enjoy the nature surrounding you at the Otway National Park. Do not miss out on capturing the beautiful sunsets from the enormous coast.
Your trip to the Great Ocean Road will not be considered successful if you do not try out your hands on surfing. Torquay is considered to be a surfer’s haven and has a number of surfing beaches to brush up your surfing skills.
Meet the Wild:
There are a number of spots on the Great Ocean Road which will allow you to meet the native wild animals of Victoria. Do not miss your chance to spot the Koalas and the Kangaroos idling around in nature. You cannot get a chance to experience the same anywhere else in the world.
Indulge in Local Cuisines:
The local cuisines made out of local organic produce all throughout your way will leave you craving for more. If you are a seafood lover, try out the fresh catch by fishermen at Lorne and Apollo Bay.
Visit the Best of the Beaches:
The complete route is filled with some of the most scenic beaches. Take out some time to bask in the sun and try out some water sports. Also, do not miss out on beautiful sunsets from cliff beaches.
Witness some of the Iconic Spots:
Visit the 12 Apostle and dig out its deep history. Visit the Hopetoun Falls, Beauchamp Falls, and endless other famous spots which will leave you overwhelmed with their beauty. Each spot you visit will add on to your list of memories made on the Great Ocean Road.
Places to Visit Near Great Ocean Road
Even a whole week around the Great Ocean Road would seem less if you try to cover up each and every destination on your way. We have shortlisted a few places that cannot be missed on your trip around the Great Ocean Road.
Port Campbell National Park:
Enjoy the cool breeze standing atop a cliff at the Port Campbell National Park. The most popular attraction of the National Park is the Twelve Apostles, the 7 rocks standing amidst the sandy beach.
Great Otway National Park:
The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay to Princeton along the coastal line. It is one of the richest national parks in Australia in terms of flora as well as fauna. You can also enjoy trekking on some of the maintained trails in the park.
You will also come across a number of mesmerizing falls and one of the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Australian mainland.
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures:
Suspended 25 meters above the ground and 600 meters in length, there is a magnificent bridge taking you over the densely forested area and mountain ash. It is a must-visit place for each and every adventure seeker.
If you wish to have an extra adrenaline rush, do not miss to take the 2.5-hour long zip lining tour that will allow you to explore the whole place with viewing stations at places to capture the beautiful views.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve:
18 kilometers from the city of Warrnambool is this beautiful place where a volcano erupted 30,000 years ago. Now, the crater is an abode to animals such as kangaroos, koalas, as well as birds. Visitors can also enter the crater with a guided tour.
Wish to spot the gigantic blue whale? Think no more and head to Logan’s beach and lie down atop a cliff to watch and capture this majestic creature taking dives in the endless ocean waters.
Other Essential Information About Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road lies on the southwestern coast of Victoria in Australia. It starts at Torquay, 100 Kilometers from Melbourne and finishes at Allansford, near Warrnambool, the biggest city on the whole route.
The Entry to this beautiful coastal road is open to one and all without any entry fee or tolls on the way. However, you might be charged an entry fee at several spots for entry throughout your trip.
Public toilets are very common throughout Victoria. You shall find neat and clean public toilets all throughout your journey on the Great Ocean Road, within the cities, as well on the beaches. You can also refer to the National Public Toilet Map issued by the government to locate your nearest public toilet.
While traveling on the Great Ocean Road, Telstra shall provide you with the best network coverage. Vodafone and Optus shall only get good coverage within the cities along your way.
You shall find plenty of ATMs in the cities along the way. You may only find a few on the external coastal road.
History of the Great Ocean Road
The Construction of the Great Ocean Road was initially planned towards the end of World War I. Its construction began on September 19, 1919, with the help of 3000 servicemen who returned safely to their homes after the War. It was built as a memorial to fellow servicemen who lost their lives during the war.
The complete construction was done by hand, using explosives, shovels, and other small scale machinery. On March 18, 1922, the route from Eastern View to Lorne was completed and made open to the public. However, it was closed from May 10, 1922, to further construction and reopened on December 21, 1922, with tolls to regain the construction and maintenance costs.
In November 1932, the route from Lorne to Apollo Bay was finally completed, marking an official completion of the Great Ocean Road. During its initial stage, the road was considered to be highly dangerous with dangerous cliffs and only one wagon being capable of passing by at once.
In October 1936, the road was handed over to the state, post which all the tolls were removed and the road conditions were also improved. The Tourist Development Authority deemed the road as one of the most scenic roads in the world in 1962.
Road Trip from Melbourne to Great Ocean Road
If you are planning a quick trip across the Great Ocean Road from the city of Melbourne, here are a few spots that are a must-visit for you to enjoy the true essence of this great coastal area in Victoria.
You must try out surfing in this surfing capital and visit the Australian National Surfing Museum to learn more about Australia’s surfing history.
– The Bells Beach:
It is the most famous beach throughout the Great Ocean Road. Do take a stroll through the beach and visit the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery to witness the delicious art of chocolate making.
– Aireys Inlet:
The coastal area of Aireys Inlet is where the twists and turns of the Great Ocean Road actually start. Stop by the Split Point Lighthouse to know about the legendary “White Queen”.
Search through an empty slot for a picnic from the 6 picnic spots in Lorne or just enjoy a great seafood lunch and local wines at the restaurants. Hit up the Erskine Falls to witness nature’s beauty.
– Apollo Bay:
Entering Apollo Bay is the most interesting area of the Great Ocean Road. Pass through the several silent settlements with amazing beaches and waterfalls on the way and at the Apollo Bay too.
Find out more at https://www.thrillophilia.com/
V8 Drive and Front Seat Hot Laps
- Take the wheel and drive six exhilarating laps
- Experience two blistering hot laps in the front seat
- V8 race car driven by a professional race car driver
Turn your friends green with envy as you experience the power of a V8 car both in the driver’s and passenger’s seat! Grip onto the wheel as you accelerate around the track six times, before switching seats and letting the professional show you how it’s done. Buckle up for a ride like no other!
- Drive six laps at Sandown Raceway
- Two front seat hot laps (passenger)
- Use of race suit and open face helmet
- Highly qualified driver/instructor
Upon sign in, you’ll meet your driver, be kitted out in your racing attire and be run through a comprehensive safety briefing. This is where you’ll learn how to handle the power of a V8 and receive tips on how to tackle corners and break better. Then, you’ll take a seat behind the wheel ready for the wildest drive of your life. Feel your adrenaline surge through your body as you zoom around the track at unreal speeds, racing through tight corners and gunning it up the straights.
Your co-driver will be giving you guidance over the headset the entire way. After your exhilarating drive experience, you’ll switch seats and let the professionals show you how it’s done. Experience this impressive racing track in the best way as your highly professional race car driver goes full throttle, blistering around the circuit two times at astonishing speeds. You’ll soon become addicted to the thrill!
- This experience is three hours in duration, including a briefing and drive
- Race days are held throughout the year on specified dates
- Please arrive 15 minutes before your booking time
- Participants must be at least 18 years and hold their P-plate license at a minimum
- Participants need to be within the maximum height of 194cm and a minimum height of 135cm, with a maximum weight below 130kg
- Participants who arrive on the day of their experience and do not adhere to these guidelines will forfeit their experience
- Both Holden and Ford cars are available, as well as automatic or manual
- Please note: There is an excess paid to the experience provider in the event of any damage caused to the car
- Once this experience has been confirmed, changes are at the discretion of the experience provider and arranged directly with them according to this policy:
- Bookings changed between 8-14 days of the experience date will incur a $30 rebooking fee
- Bookings changed within seven days of the experience date will incur a $50 rebooking fee
- Numbers on the Day
- Your briefing will be held in a group of approximately 20-25 people.
- Friends and family are welcome to come along and share your experience at no additional fee. There is plenty of good viewing and photo opportunities at the venue.
- If it’s raining before you leave home, please call the weather check number on 0412 018 035 for a recording with the latest track and weather conditions.
- Please wear comfortable, enclosed flat-soled shoes
- You can choose to purchase a super photo souvenir and in-car digital video recording with telemetry on a USB stick on the day.
Find out more at https://www.redballoon.com.au/